Accessibility in Action: Apple Showcases ZVRS’ Z5 iOS App

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The mobile application, developed for ZVRS by Haneke Design, transforms smart devices into mobile videophones for deaf and hard of hearing Americans.

The Z5 app has given deaf and hard of hearing Americans unprecedented communication opportunities and has enhanced the quality of their lives in countless ways,” said Jody Haneke, president of Haneke Design.

Mobile applications have created a whole new world of opportunities for businesses and consumers, providing millions of new tools and entertainment options to explore that are customized for the smaller screens of our smartphones and tablets. But when coupled with innovative new technologies designed to assist people with disabilities, mobile apps have literally transformed people’s lives. Apple is celebrating examples of accessibility apps on its web site and is shining the spotlight on the Z5 mobile application, built by ZVRS in collaboration with Haneke Design. The Clearwater – based company, also known as The Z®, is the leading provider of video relay services (VRS) for deaf and hard of hearing Americans.

“Appearing on the Apple web site and being recognized as an ‘amazing’ example of accessibility apps built for the iPhone and iPad is like winning an Oscar,” said Jody Haneke, president of Haneke Design. “We are tremendously excited for the whole ZVRS team and congratulate them on recognition that is well deserved. The Z5 app has given deaf and hard of hearing Americans unprecedented communication opportunities and has enhanced the quality of their lives in countless ways.”

Haneke Design’s collaboration with the ZVRS team began several years ago, when Apple introduced new features and functionality that would make possible the development of an app that could turn an iPhone into a mobile video phone capable of providing video relay services for deaf and hard of hearing people on the go. Since the introduction of their first Z mobile application, new features and functions have been added to keep up with new versions of the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

ZVRS soon emerged as the mobility leader in the VRS industry, and continues to develop products and services that keep them ahead of their competitors. Last year, DeafTechNews named the Z4 mobile application Mobile Product of the Year in its poll of Top Video Relay Products of 2011.

“We are so honored to have Apple feature The Z on the Accessibility pages of its web site and be recognized for our work in bringing outstanding accessible technologies to the deaf community,” said Lydia Runnels, vice president of product development for ZVRS. “Our journey with the Haneke Design team in developing these products has been incredibly rewarding.”

The Z5 mobile app allows deaf and hard of hearing people to make and receive point-to-point calls to/from any videophone, as well as make and receive calls to hearing people using video relay service (VRS). The free app is compatible with iPhone 4 or newer, iPad 2 or newer and iPod Touch 4th Generation or newer.

The Z5’s upgrades include enhanced contacts, including integration of your iPhone Contacts and Z Contacts, the option to include avatars (pictures) for each contact, the ability to set up “Favorites," and easy VideoMail access.

Other functions include:

  •     Ability for users to call any party in their phone’s contact list as well as those stored in their personal contact list on The Z®’s server
  •     Access to The Z®’s YouTube channel and video training library
  •     Ability to manage their personal customer account and “one number” settings from their mobile device

About ZVRS (The Z®)
The Z, a for-profit company headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, was spun out from Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), a non-profit corporation, in 2006. Of the company’s 400 employees, 60 percent of the full time employees are deaf or hard of hearing, including four members of the executive management team.    

The Z is certified by and operates under FCC regulations and is remunerated for VRS calls processed from the Telecommunications Relay Service Fund. For more information about The Z, please visit

About Haneke Design
Haneke Design is an interactive design and development firm focused on delivering user-centered solutions for desktop, mobile and tablet devices. With offices in Tampa and Denver, Haneke Design works with some of the world's leading brands and advertising agencies to deliver multi-platform, cross-device campaigns. Additionally, Haneke Design helps SMB and enterprise customers mobilize their web applications and web services. These solutions integrate seamlessly, are easy to use and deliver bottom line results.

For more information, visit


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Laura Fontanills
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